The E-Enterprise Smart Mobile Tools for Field Inspectors (Smart Tools) team is making strides enhancing Smart Tools for Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA) and National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) inspectors.
Environmental inspections are largely paper-based processes requiring hours of preparation and post-inspection work. Smart Tools brings environmental inspections into the 21st century by providing digital assistance to inspectors and their management during each stage of the inspection process, improving the quality and consistency of environmental inspections.
As of early 2022, more than 250 federal, state, and tribal inspections have been planned and/or completed in Smart Tools. Concurrently, federal and state inspectors have been providing valuable feedback to the Smart Tools team, which continues to drive improvements to the usability of the software in the field.
One major enhancement is the addition of checklists, a top priority for the Smart Tools team. Checklist functionality will first be completed for the Underground Storage Tank program by this summer. Later in 2022, the team expects to begin delivery of checklist functionality for RCRA and NPDES inspectors. The checklist functionality will supplement the original process-based software in production and will be further expanded to support additional program areas (Clean Air Act; Safe Drinking Water Act; Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, & Rodenticide Act; Toxic Substances Control Act; and other areas).
In January 2022, EPA conducted three Smart Tools training sessions for RCRA and NPDES users to review the system and to highlight the many recent improvements to the software. More than 300 federal, state, and tribal inspectors attended the sessions. Among these 2021 improvements are:
- Expanded compliance history information to support pre-inspection planning
- Fully 508-compliant inspection reports
- Links to federal and state environmental justice resources
- Improvements to tracking and labeling photos taken during inspections
- Bulk uploading of permit information, and
- The ability to update inspection reports and field notes in the event of late confidential business information or personally identifiable information claims.
EPA, states, ECOS, the Association of Clean Water Administrators, and the Association of State & Territorial Solid Waste Management Officials have all been actively engaged with the team and in promoting these tools. For more information, contact David Meredith of EPA, visit the E-Enterprise Smart Tools page, or review the RCRA user documentation. To test out Smart Tools via the Smart Tools Sandbox, or to seek information on adopting or receiving training on Smart Tools for RCRA inspections, contact Emily Chow of EPA. For information on Smart Tools for NPDES inspections, or to participate in NPDES trainings, contact Cassandra Rice of EPA.